PARIS --- France’s Naval Group has won a €750 million order from Abu Dhabi for two Gowind corvettes, La Tribune reported this morning quoting unidentified sources who confirm an initial report in the ‘Intelligence Online’ newsletter.
The contract, reportedly signed on March 25, may however be blocked by Germany which has decreed an embargo on weapon deliveries to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as the two ships are to be powered by diesel engines produced by Germany’s MTU.
According to La Tribune, the contract was originally announced by French President Emmanuel Macron in November 2017 who, after meeting Abu Dhabi's crown prince and deputy commander of the UAE's armed forces, Mohammed ben Zayed al-Nahyan, told reporters that the emirate intended to buy two French corvettes, with another two on option.
Displacing 2,700 tonnes, the two corvettes are to be armed with Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) for air-defense, and MBDA’s Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles.
The contract is significant for Naval Group, which has won a new customer, and more significantly because Abu Dhabi had previously purchased corvettes from Italy’s Finmeccanica, with which Naval Group is intended to form a strategic alliance but with whom competition on foreign markets continues unabated.
€5 billion orders so far this year
Since the beginning of the year, Naval Group has won five significant naval contracts, together worth about €5 billion: 12 next-generation minehunters for Belgium and the Netherlands; three new-build Gowind corvettes for Argentina, which is also buying the concept-demonstration ship L’Adroit, together worth €319 million, and now the two corvettes for Abu Dhabi worth €750 million.
In addition, Naval Group in February also signed a contract worth €1.450 billion euros over four-years for the design of Australia's future submarines. Coming into force, the first of the three tranches of this contract is valued at 300 million euros.
Finally, in January Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Naval Group won a € 1.7 billion contract for the construction of four 194-meter-long tanker tankers under the FLOTLOG (logistics fleet) program; Naval Group's share is worth around €300 million.